City of Tacoma Completes Major Hydropower Upgrade at Cushman Dam

August 07, 2013

The Energy Department and the city of Tacoma today inaugurated a new powerhouse and fish passage facility at its Cushman Hydroelectric Project in Washington State, powering over 2,000 additional homes and reintroducing steelhead and salmon to their native habitats.

"Upgrading America's hydroelectric facilities presents one of the best opportunities to increase our supply of clean, renewable energy and provide consumers with affordable, reliable power," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. "By partnering with local communities and utilities, we can take steady, responsible steps that protect the environment and deploy every source of American energy."

Tacoma Power's Cushman Hydroelectric Project installed a new two-generator powerhouse that increases electric generation capacity by 3.6 megawatts and captures energy from previously untapped water flows. The project also added an innovative elevator and transportation system to reintroduce Washington's endangered steelhead and salmon populations upriver from the Cushman Hydroelectric Project for the first time since the 1920s. This $28 million project was supported by a $4.7 million Recovery Act award from the Energy Department.

The Energy Department is taking steps to increase clean, renewable, and reliable hydropower generation in the United States. Modernizing our nation's hydropower facilities represents one of the best near-term opportunities to sustainably increase the American supply of clean energy. Hydropower plants can quickly ramp up from zero to maximum output, helping to meet any sudden changes in power demand and complement wind, solar, and other variable energy sources.

See more information on hydroelectric generation in the United States and an Energy 101 video on this renewable energy resource.